New Health Aids Productivity

NEW BREMEN, Ohio-Crown Equipment Corporation hasimplemented a program to improve the health and productivity of its workforce.In just four years, its HealthWise Program has generated significant positiveresults. Today, more than one-half of Crown's workforce falls into the lowhealth risk category-an improvement of 12%. Trends also indicate a significantreduction in the health care costs for employees who consistently participatein the HealthWise Program.

James R. Heap, M.D., Crown corporate medical director,recently presented the results of the HealthWise Program at the Joint Forum onHealth, Productivity and Absence Management sponsored by the National BusinessGroup on Health. Heap's presentation was part of the "Health Management asa Serious Business Strategy" session of the conference.

"The HealthWise Program has done exactly what we hadhoped. We significantly increased the number of low-risk employees and reducedthe number at high risk," said Heap. "There are a number of benefitsfrom having healthier employees including increased productivity, fewerinjuries and lower medical costs. We feel HealthWise definitely gives us acompetitive edge in our business."

Crown partnered with the University of Michigan in itsapproach to developing its Next Generation Health Management Program. Theconcept, outlined by Dr. Dee W. Edington, director of the Health ManagementResearch Center at the University of Michigan, supports educating regardless ofrisk levels, reaching out to families, partnering with professionals andmeasuring results.

The HealthWise Program provides health benchmarks andpersonal risk analysis. HealthWise is a voluntary program for employees andspouses. Each individual is placed into a category of health (low, medium orhigh risk) based on his/her health risk appraisal (HRA). The HRA looks atseveral risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, exerciselevel, smoking and diabetes status. Low risk is defined as no more than tworisk factors. High-risk individuals display five or more risk factors.Depending on the results of the HRA, employees and spouses receive healthadvising to guide them to better health. Other components of the programinclude wellness screenings, healthier vending options and access to afitness-focused Web site.

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